BERLIN (Reuters) - "Serious departures" from democratic norms were a core factor in driving the United States to its lowest in eight years on a global corruption index in 2020, watchdog Transparency International said on Thursday. The group's annual report on business leaders' perceptions of corruption - which gave the United States a score of 67 out of 100, down from 69 in 2019 - also cited weak oversight of the country's $1 trillion COVID-19 relief package. That put the United States behind Bhutan and Uruguay in 25th place, down from 23rd in 2019.
Swiss concept artists Frank and Patrik Riklin are diving into the urban landscape to create their latest piece - an art project that will be buried beneath a new residential development north of the city of Zurich. The twin brothers, whose earlier work included an open-air "zero-star-hotel", want to show how art can influence the mentality of a place and the inhabitants of the Zwhatt neighbourhood scheme in Regensdorf. The Riklins, 47, will make around 15 "twisted works of art" which will go on display before being buried in the foundations of the Zwhatt development.
A panel of three judges of Pakistan's Supreme Court ordered on Thursday the release of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, an Islamist accused of beheading U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl, a government lawyer said. "By a majority of two to one, they have acquitted all the accused persons and ordered their release," a provincial attorney general, Salman Talibuddin, told Reuters in a text message. Sheikh, the main suspect in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter, had received the death penalty.
Syrian businessman George Haswani denied any links on Wednesday to last year's explosion that killed 200 people in Beirut, telling Reuters that he knew nothing about a company linked to the purchase of the fertiliser that exploded in the port. Haswani was named by Reuters and other media outlets this month after it emerged that a company he owned, Hesco Engineering and Construction Company Ltd, maintained its corporate register at the same London address as British firm, Savaro Ltd. The Mozambican firm that ordered the fertiliser, FEM, has said it ordered the shipment through Savaro. Speaking to Reuters at his Damascus home, Haswani said he had employed the same Cypriot agency, Interstatus, to register his company that also registered Savaro, and the agent had shifted the location of the registers to the same address on the same day.
Ten years after joining an uprising in Yemen against autocratic rule and an economy in shambles, the same activists find themselves on opposite sides of a war that has pushed the country to the brink of famine with dim prospects for peace. Ahmed Abdo Hezam, 35, a fighter with government forces known by his nom de guerre Ahmed Abu Al-Nasr, had been a university graduate in the agro-industrial city of Taiz when he first joined youth-led protests that ended Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year rule. Even back then some 40% of Yemen's population lived on less than $2 a day and a third suffered chronic hunger.
China's Defence Ministry said on Thursday that recent military activities in the Taiwan Strait were a response to interference by foreign forces and provocations by forces supporting Taiwan's independence and that "independence means war". Ministry spokesman Wu Qian made the comments at a monthly news briefing in response to a question about recent stepped up Chinese military activity reported by Taiwan in the island's air defence identification zone.
Singapore has moved a step closer to a driverless public transport network with the launch of a new trial of self-driving buses.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson heads to Scotland on Thursday in a bid to stem growing support for another independence referendum by arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the benefits of staying together. The bonds that tie England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland together in a $3 trillion economy have been severely strained by both Brexit and Johnson's handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Opinion surveys show that a majority of Scots would now back independence, though Johnson has repeatedly said that now is not the time for another referendum that could break apart the more than 314-year-old union between England and Scotland.
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — Prasarana chairman Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman was discharged from Sungai Buloh Hospital today, after recovering from his Covid-19 infection. Taking to Facebook,...
An aggressive interpretation of the regulation could mean that only income earned from activities carried out at offices in SEZs would be eligible for a tax holiday.
The Philadelphia Flyers rebounded nicely from their second blowout loss and became the first team to score five times against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. After a productive night of offense, the Flyers will aim for another one Thursday night when they visit the Devils for the second game of their two-game series in Newark, N.J. Philadelphia's 25 goals are tied with the Washington Capitals for the most in the East Division, and 11 of those came in the first two games.
South Korea said on Thursday it would begin COVID-19 vaccinations for the general public in the third quarter but review the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine to the elderly because of limited efficacy data overseas. Health authorities will expand vaccinations towards the second half of the year with an aim to reach herd immunity by November, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) director Jeong Eun-kyeong told a news briefing. Inoculations would begin in February starting with key groups, including around 50,000 medical workers in the front line of coronavirus treatment, the elderly and staff in nursing homes, Jeong said.
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — Umno’s Tan Sri Annuar Musa today cautioned party members that a general election (GE15) could be just around the corner and they should start prepping for it. In a brief...
An Indian court on Thursday denied bail to a Muslim comedian accused of insulting Hinduism, in a case that has raised concern over freedom of expression in the country. Munawar Faruqui, 29, was arrested in the central Indian city of Indore on Jan. 1 during a stand-up comedy show. A complaint filed by the son of a lawmaker from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party accused Faruqui of making "filthy and indecent jokes" about Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as India's home minister Amit Shah.
Populist Sadyr Japarov was sworn in as president of ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan Thursday, completing a remarkable transformation from prisoner to president in just a few months.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 34 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore as of Thursday (28 January), taking the country’s total case count to 59,425.
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — Corruption appears to have worsened in Malaysia, according to Transparency International (TI), which placed the country 57th out of 180 countries last year. Malaysia ranked...
Thomas Bach made that clear Wednesday when he vowed that the Olympics would be staged in July and that this time there is no back up plan. One other thing the president of the International Olympic Committee claims is certain: They won’t be stealing your vaccine shots to make the games happen. Bach said Wednesday that the IOC was ``not in favor of athletes jumping queue’’ for vaccines, which he said should go first to health care workers and then to those in high risk of severe complications from Covid-19.
Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein, has testified she never saw him receive massages from anyone other than herself at his home in New York, where prosecutors are pursuing criminal charges that she helped the late financier procure underage girls for sex. The denial came in a July 2016 deposition that Maxwell gave in a long-settled civil defamation lawsuit against her by Virginia Giuffre, one of dozens of women who have accused Epstein of sexual misconduct. More than 100 documents from that lawsuit were made public late on Wednesday night in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
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